Custom keyboards are trendy and make gaming and working with your laptop way more fun. In fact, the popularity of unique and personalised keycaps is such that Royal Selangor even released a Durian Artisan Pewter Keycap.
Some of these one-of-a-kind keycaps can cost hundreds of ringgit and while they may seem pricey considering their tiny sizes, these can take a long time to make and require techniques and skills.
While you may have come across Pokémon or animal-themed keycaps online, one man has turned to producing keycaps that are truly Malaysian!
KL-born Chorng graduated with a degree in multimedia design and worked as a designer for five years before picking up the hobby of making custom keycaps. He came across online communities with a shared interest in customising their keyboards.
He picked up the skill to customise his own keyboard but found out that he was good at the craft and now sells these keycaps on his website and Instagram page.
One of his creations is a teeny-tiny nasi lemak served on a banana leaf, complete with sambal, a pyramid of rice, cucumbers, and the lot! These look so realistic that if we had one fixed in our keyboards it would make us hungry all the time.
Another dainty creation is a plate of Penang’s famous dish ––– Char Koay Teow served up with prawns and silky noodles.
While Malaysia may be proud of being home to the world’s largest flower, Chorng has skilfully crafted a remarkably Rafflesia that is tiny enough to hold up with two fingers.
These keycaps are painstakingly made and the whole process from designing to production takes one to two months. He starts by coming up with an idea and some basic sketches.
Once Chorng has an idea of how the shape should look, he starts sculpting it digitally and producing prototypes. When he is satisfied with his prototype, he then makes a mould and casts the keycap with resin. Each of the keycaps is individually hand-painted with vivid colours and encapsulated with clear resin.
There are specific tools needed such as a silicone mould maker, a vacuum chamber, a pressure chamber, and different types of resin. These keycaps can be used on any mechanical keyboard that uses MX switches and are priced from RM59 to RM139 each.
We spoke to Chorng about his decision to make Malaysian-themed keycaps. He said, “It is simply because I am proud to be a Malaysian.
"I've seen a lot of western and Japanese food being made such as burgers and sushi but not Malaysian food. I thought that it would be interesting to make something local while having Nasi Lemak for breakfast one day. I also had the idea that this could be a chance to introduce our interesting Malaysian food to more people in the world.”
He also shared that his favourite piece that he has produced so far is satay, which he hasn’t released yet. Yum, we wonder if it comes with any peanut sauce. Support local and check out his Instagram page and website for more updates!
Image credit: @zomg.key